Political comedian Bill Maher has been pissing people off for years by being open with his ultra-left-wing beliefs. While he has aspired to be in the ranks of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert when it comes to political satire, Maher has always missed the mark. With his new “documentary” Religulous — a play on the words “religious” and “ridiculous” — Maher is hopelessly trying to join their ranks through nothing but intentional controversy and ignorance.
The advertisements for Religulous made Maher appear like his comedic documentary was all about visiting authoritative figures from organized religions looking for indications of hypocrisy. If that had been the drive and purpose of this arrogant film, then it might have been worthwhile.
Instead, Religulous shows Maher talking with random people of different faiths, pissing them off and making fun of them any chance he gets. Oftentimes, he doesn’t even let his interviewees answer the questions he poses without butting in with some rude remark. While Maher could actually be learning something from what these people are saying, he decides to browbeat them, shut them up and break their faith.
While the end product may make Maher look like he’s said, “I told you so,” to each person he talks to, in reality, it just shows how closed-minded he is.
Three days before Religulous‘ nationwide release, Maher and director Larry Charles, who also directed the mostly impromptu Borat, gave interviews claiming that the film was outrageously controversial. What a lame, last-minute attempt at getting your film noticed. Slap the word “controversial” on the side of any product and you’ll get a lot more buyers than before.
One of the opening scenes of Religulous shows Maher speaking with his mom about being brought up Catholic even though she was Jewish. Her response was that both religions teach people to do good things. And that’s what the moral of the story should’ve been. Not a pessimistic outlook on one of the only positive, life-changing things allowed in current society. No, it isn’t perfect. Yes, it has its faults. But it helps a lot more people along in these troubling times than a downer of a so-called documentary.